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Richard Bleier could be an outstanding trade chip
It doesn’t take an expert to see that Richard Bleier is a bit of an anachronism in today’s MLB. The southpaw is heavily reliant on his sinker, a pitch that is growing less popular across the game, and he only rarely manages to touch 90 mph with his fastball.
And yet, with his deceptive delivery and impressive command, Bleier is having another strong campaign, posting a 0.47 ERA in 19.1 innings. The Florida native was rock-solid in Anaheim, coming out of the bullpen for a pair of scoreless, four-out outings.
Bleier’s microscopic ERA is no small feat for a pitcher who strikes out fewer than five men per nine innings. Balls in play introduce more randomness than strikeouts, walks or home runs, so we’d expect a top pitcher to be highly effective by those three metrics — but amazingly enough, Bleier’s BABIP for 2018 is a tiny .217. He’s bound to experience regression at some point, but for now, he’s the anchor of the entire pitching staff.
Bleier is playing his third MLB season at 31 years old, but that’s no reason for teams to ignore his terrific career numbers: a 1.70 ERA in 105 innings pitched, many of them against potent offenses like the Yankees and Red Sox.
If last winter’s free agent market was any indication, relief pitchers are more valuable than ever, so why wouldn’t a contending team want to take a flier on a crafty lefty like Bleier? There could be a nice little market for his services come July.